Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

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The Countdown to Christmas continuesThe Christmas Ornament airs this Saturday night (11/16) at 8:00 PM ET on The Hallmark Channel.

Synopsis (from The Hallmark Channel website): Newly widowed Kathy (Kellie Martin) plans to skip out on decking the halls and trimming the tree this Christmas, trying to avoid anything that will bring back memories of her late husband. The only Christmas tradition she will observe is baking cookies for her friends, a passion since she was a child. When Kathy meets handsome Christmas tree shop owner Tim (Cameron Mathison), their undeniable chemistry – along with an ornament Tim gives her that symbolizes hope – helps Kathy open up to the joys of the season again. With the support of her best friend Jenna (Jewel Staite), and the budding relationship with Tim, Kathy begins to embrace the hopeful message of the ornament.

Although Kathy wants to take a chance on Tim, she struggles to find the balance between preserving the memory of her husband and moving on with her own future. Is the Christmas ornament a sign that she can have a hopeful future?

Mini-Review: The Christmas Ornament is one of those Hallmark Christmas set in an almost magically-idyllic small town populated by really nice people seemingly all concerned about the young grieving widow (Martin) whose husband died about a year ago from an illness or accident that nobody ever sees fit to elaborate on. And, yes, our heroine loves to bake cookies at home while wearing high heels. And, of course, there’s the impossibly-handsome guy (Mathison) who is brimming with sincerity while overcoming a hurt of his own. In short, it’s got all the makings of an SNL spoof.

On the other, as uncool as it may to admit it, most of us wish the world was a little bit more like that (sans the high heels while baking). And, in truth, unlike the supposedly realistic world presented by hipper, edgier films and TV shows, most people are nice — they just get precious little representation on television. What’s more, if we can all manage to stow away our media-cultivated cynicism for a couple of hours, the story here is actually quite touching. Who can’t relate to the struggle to overcome loss and the tentative effort to move forward even while still brokenhearted? Beyond that, the characters actually express wisdom about such things. It’s not that they say anything we don’t already know or haven’t heard before. They just gently remind us of things that we may need to be reminded of now and then.

Though, perhaps, not for cynics (or, maybe, especially for cynics), The Christmas Ornament is recommended.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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